My aim for the past few years, and for as many as I have left, is to be a good mother.
I realised this in just one moment the other day, as I thought of what I would like to achieve over the coming year.
Now I don’t mean I want to be a mother who excels at everything, with a sparkling home and perfectly turned out children. However nice this idea may seem, it is not real life – well it is not our life anyway.
What I mean is to actually be a good mother.
I feel as if over the past year or so events have somewhat taken over our family life. Perhaps unintentionally, but nevertheless it has all become a little bit too much about me and not enough about them. And that, in my mind is the wrong way around.
In all honesty the fatigue and ill health I now experience has had a knock on effect to family life. Sleepless nights make for grumpy mornings, contribute to afternoon lows, and certainly do not help as the day draws to a close and little tempers are frayed. So the first issue I guess, is to tackle my own energy levels and to just make it through a day.
Behaviour is an issue.
I have noticed of late that both children are not behaving in the best way. I have no issue with them being naughty, kids are supposed to be naughty. In fact there have been times over the past year where I have almost delighted in seeing naughty little streaks, just to reassure myself that they are in fact happy, normal little kids. On the other hand, I would like to think that at some stage a trip to the shops or going out to eat will not turn into the debacle that it does at the moment.
Time is also an issue.
All too soon the familiar routine of school and nursery will begin again. Everything during term-time goes at one hundred miles an hour, and whilst this is normal for most families – I have noticed how quickly time passes and that you sometimes forget to notice the small things.
I want to try harder to enjoy those small things, like hearing my boy read for instance. Honestly it never fails to amaze me that a few months ago he didn’t even know his alphabet, and now he takes great pride in reading a full story to me.
Time is also counting down for my ‘big girl’ who is desperate to start school, whilst I desperately cling onto her nursery days. I think I am looking forward to the beginning of her school days just as much as she is, because I know how much it means to her. In the meantime though, I am going to try make the most of our days off together, because I have realised that in the blink of an eye her preschool days will be over with.
In our house just lately if things don’t go their way, the children boldly exclaim, ‘I won’t be your best friend anymore!’ To which I quietly smile to myself, and I always reply, ‘Oh yes you will, I will be your best friend forever’.
And yet, mine is not the job of the best friend it is so much more than that. My job is to guide, to listen, to teach, and to pick them up if life is ever cruel to them.
Although I would happily take on the role of ‘best friend’ I am mindful of something somebody once said to me about trying too hard to be ‘cool’ and that the more you try to be so, the more you will fail. I know that I will fail in this department as, a) I have never been cool anyway, and b) its not even cool to say cool anymore. So I have decided that I am not even going to try to be the best friend or to be cool.
I am just going to try to be there.
I want to be there to give thumbs up during a swimming lesson. I want to be there to explain why you walk away if someone pushes you in the playground or why it is wrong to push others. I want to be there to teach them that you should always give up your seat to your elders. I want to be there at the end of the day to give a much needed hug where I can.
My son boldly stated to me the other day; ‘You are not as kind as Topsy & Tim’s mum’, (a mum off a children’s t.v programme) all because I wouldn’t let him finish off one of his selection boxes from Christmas. Well all things considered that is fine by me. I am under no illusion that I will never be the perfect mummy (who would I am sure, kindly explain why being greedy results in childhood obesity). Sometimes I just say ‘No’ for whatever reason, and I just hope that as they grow older they have enough respect for me to accept that.
There are so many elements to being a ‘good mother’ that I probably shouldn’t overwhelm myself with. Suffice to say though, that trying a little harder would not go a miss. I may start with getting through the day and ending it with a bedtime kiss without being too grumpy, and we will see how we go from there.
I suppose in the end the only people who can judge my success at being a good mummy will be my own children. After all, it is their opinion that really counts, it is their memories that will create our story, and it is their smiles that will tell a thousand truths.